Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center

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Research at the Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center focuses on providing the scientific understanding and technologies needed to support and implement sound management and conservation of our Nation's biological resources occurring in Hawai'i and other Pacific island locations.

Spotlight on Research

Spotlight on Research

Learn more about how researchers are evaluating the use of trained scent-detection canines to sniff out avian disease.

Detection Canines

Featured Scientist

Featured Scientist

PIERC Microbiologist Dr. Carter Atkinson is using new tools to detect emerging threats and rare species in Pacific Island ecosystems.

Atkinson Research

News

Trained scent-detection dog and dog trainer at work in a taro field at Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge
November 22, 2017

Dogs have great olfactory abilities and wildlife biologists think they can help endangered waterbirds in Hawai‘i. Dogs are being trained to sniff out the endangered ducks (koloa maoli (Anas wyvilliana) and Laysan ducks (A. laysanensis)) that die of avian botulism. 

Image: 'Akiapōlā'au
July 10, 2017

Forest birds on the island of Hawaii are responding positively to being restored in one of the largest, ongoing reforestation projects at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, according to a new study released July 10 in the journal Restoration Ecology.

A Laysan Albatross chick in its nest near the coastline at Midway Atoll, Hawaii
June 22, 2017

Sudden flooding hit islands of global importance for Pacific birds highlighting threats and opportunities for conservation planning

Publications

Year Published: 2018

Potential impacts of projected climate change on vegetation management in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park

Climate change will likely alter the seasonal and annual patterns of rainfall and temperature in Hawai`i. This is a major concern for resource managers at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park where intensely managed Special Ecological Areas (SEAs), focal sites for managing rare and endangered plants, may no longer provide suitable habitat under future...

Camp, Richard J.; Loh, Rhonda; Berkowitz, S. Paul; Brinck, Kevin W.; Jacobi, James D.; Price, Jonathan; McDaniel, Sierra; Fortini, Lucas B.
Camp, R. J., R. Loh, P. Berkowitz, K. W. Brinck, J. D. Jacobi, J. Price, S. McDaniel, and L. B. Fortini. 2018. Potential impacts of projected climate change on vegetation management in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Park Science 34:22–31. Available: https://www.nps.gov/articles/parkscience34-1_22-31_camp_et_al_3875.htm

Year Published: 2018

Population estimates of the Endangered Hawaiʻi ʻĀkepa (Loxops coccineus) in different habitats on windward Mauna Loa

Endangered Hawai‘i ʻĀkepas (Loxops coccineus) are endemic to Hawai‘i island, where they occur in five spatially distinct populations. Data concerning the status and population trends of these unique Hawaiian honeycreepers are crucial for assessing the effectiveness of recovery and management actions. In 2016, we used point‐transect distance...

Judge, Seth W.; Camp, Richard J.; Hart, Patrick J.; Kichman, Scott T.
Judge, S. W., R. J. Camp, P. J. Hart, and S. T. Kichman. 2018. Population estimates of the Endangered Hawaiʻi ʻĀkepa (Loxops coccineus) in different habitats on windward Mauna Loa. Journal of Field Ornithology 89:11–21.

Year Published: 2018

The effect of isolation, fragmentation, and population bottlenecks on song structure of a Hawaiian honeycreeper

Little is known about how important social behaviors such as song vary within and among populations for any of the endemic Hawaiian honeycreepers. Habitat loss and non‐native diseases (e.g., avian malaria) have resulted in isolation and fragmentation of Hawaiian honeycreepers within primarily high elevation forests. In this study, we examined how...

Pang-Ching, Joshua M.; Paxton, Kristina L.; Paxton, Eben H.; Pack, Adam A.; Hart, Patrick J.
Pang‐Ching, J. M., K. L. Paxton, E. H. Paxton, A. A. Pack, and P. J. Hart. 2018. The effect of isolation, fragmentation, and population bottlenecks on song structure of a Hawaiian honeycreeper. Ecology and Evolution 8:2076–2087. Available: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3820